There will eventually come a time when you or your loved one should consider retirement living as a safe and healthy living option. However, bringing up the conversation can be difficult. If you are wanting to discuss the move of a loved one into retirement living, be aware that this can trigger concerns for them that you may not realise. You should be patient and make them feel heard.
On the other hand, it can also be difficult if you are wanting to make the move into a retirement village and have to bring up the conversation with family who might not support the decision. Navigating these interactions can be daunting but, with a new year on the horizon and family together for the holidays, it could be the perfect time to take the first step!
When is the Right Time to Have the Retirement Village Living Conversation?
Suzi Cadigan, our Village Manager at The Sterling, Kaiapoi advises that “It is never too early to start looking at a retirement village. It takes time and is best to not rush it so you make the right choice for your lifestyle.”
For family concerned about an older family member, it is ideal to start talking about retirement villages while that person’s lifestyle is still manageable. Many children put off having the conversation for too long and are forced to make rushed decisions when a parent’s health declines. Having the conversation before this, allows your loved one to ease into the process without feeling pressured. This also helps to take the strain of the rest of the family, giving you all time to plan and ensuring that you make the right decision for them, rather than being forced to focus on finding immediate health care.
The Sterling, Kaiapoi Sales Manager, Michelle Allan, says “planning ahead is worth considering before it becomes a necessity, this gives you the choice to live where you want and removes the pressure from your loved ones, to make that decision on your behalf.”
As a retiree eager to move into a retirement village, you can also face difficulties navigating the retirement conversation with family. It is a good idea to bring this up as soon as possible to give your family time to adjust to the idea so they can support you through the move.
How to Approach the Conversation
In both cases, we recommend educating yourself as much as possible on what retirement villages are out there, what they offer and the potential benefits of they can bring to you or a loved one’s life. Most reluctance to retirement villages stems from a lack of understanding of the exciting lifestyles that modern villages can offer. Having this knowledge can cut through this stigma around moving into a retirement village and show your family member(s) that they can offer great benefits.
At the Sterling, Kaiapoi we offer residents a vibrant lifestyle that allows them to live to their fullest. Our Village Manager, Suzi, explains “The Sterling is unique; a village within a village. We are a part of the wider community, with the added bonus of offering full support, 5 star facilities and an active social calendar that you wouldn’t find in a traditional retirement village. It is the best of both worlds.”
Talk in Person
Always try and talk face to face and if this isn’t possible set up a video chat. This way you can better understand your loved one through their expressions.
The Sterling, Kaiapoi Village Manager, Suzi, says, “Make sure you set aside plenty of time for the initial conversation in a comfortable setting so you can both voice your feelings and opinions.”
Have shorter and more frequent chats rather than overwhelming your family or loved one the first time, this way future conversations never seem daunting. Stick to talking about the concerns and benefits around retirement living in the first chat and leave the more in depth topics to be discussed later. Leave the conversation open ended and let them know you will talk again soon so that they understand this is only the start of a longer process that they are involved in.
How to approach a loved one
Some people equate moving to a retirement village as losing their independence and entering the end of life stage. Focusing on the positive aspects, such as social, community, independence and activity will remind your loved one that this is a positive transition.
At The Sterling, Kaiapoi, we do not see retiring as an end of life choice, but an opportunity to live your best life in your later years.
Suzi says “Living at The Sterling you have the opportunity to be as involved or as uninvolved as you like with all the services and facilities available to you at your doorstep. You really can live the life you choose.”
Listen More & Ask Questions
In the first conversation make sure to listen. Avoid lecturing and instead prompt them to think about what they want out of retirement village living.
Ask questions like:
- Do you miss spending time with friends?
- Is the house becoming difficult to manage?
- Do you wish you had a more active community where you could meet people with similar interests?
If you notice your loved one displaying some of the difficulties of growing older, ask questions to understand the concerns they may have about living at home.
Suzi says “It is important to talk to them about your concerns for their wellbeing. Speak from the heart, let them know how concerned you are, and give them specific examples of your concerns.”
Narrow the options you share with your loved one to the best examples with a variety of offerings to give them an overview of what is out there without overwhelming them.
Take the Pressure Off
Avoid getting set on particular options and allow your loved one to always feel in control of the decisions by reassuring them that they will always make the final call on where they live.
Let your loved one know that viewing retirement living options comes with no commitment and that staying where they are is always an option. Taking the pressure off moving will likely open them up more to considering the options you show them.
How to Approach Family as a Retiree Wanting to Move
Don’t be disheartened if your family don’t jump for joy at the news of you moving to a retirement village. It can take your loved ones time to adjust to the idea.
Voice your concerns
Approach the conversation by voicing your concerns about your current living situation to help them to understand why you are wanting to move.
Highlight the benefits
Family can also misunderstand the reality of retirement living. Explain what aspects of your life could improve in a retirement village so they see that this could be a positive change. Giving examples of villages and pointing out the amenities on offer can highlight this.
Focus on you
Family may have concerns about the financial aspect of retirement village living. Make sure you have a good understanding of the fees and costs involved so you can reassure them. At the end of the day they should want you to do what is best for you.
Approaching the first conversation can seem difficult but with patience and respect it can be the start of an amazing journey. Spending quality time with family over the holidays is the perfect opportunity to start having these conversations as you can really foster a relaxed atmosphere. With family taking time away from work it is also a great time to view villages together. We welcome you and your loved ones to visit The Sterling, Kaiapoi Sales Office to see how our thriving, intergenerational community and variety of amenities could allow you or a loved one to enjoy independence as well as community activity. We believe that the perfect retirement village experience is out there for everyone, they just might not be aware of it yet.